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The Effect of Quarantine on Teens

TikTok has been the most popular social media platform for teens this year. It has become the app that starts almost all the trends and spreads them across all social media platforms. Each person’s “feed” on TikTok is curated to fit that individual’s  specific interests. Recently on TikTok, teens have been showing their transformations over quarantine. Many people are sharing their quarantine “glow up”. A question a lot of people have been asking is “why is everyone changing so much?” Have the same changes happened to the student body here at Santa Barbara High School?

My theory is that with all the time we’ve had to ourselves, some people have learned who they truly are and what matters most to them through self reflection. With all this time inside, more people are spending time on this addicting platform, eating up ideas that they start incorporating into their lives,  including humor and fashion inspiration. Showing off outfits and sharing funny videos have covered much  of the platform, creating a community within these different style and humor choices. I decided to interview a few people from Santa Barbara High School and asked them how they have personally been affected by quarantine. 

Alana Sanchez (Grade 10) and Carah Shapiro (Grade 10) both said they have been experiencing changes over quarantine. When asked if they think their personality and style have changed, they both agreed it had, and for the better. Alana elaborates, “My style and personality changed at about the same time while affecting each other. I’ve definitely been able to get outside of my comfort zone and do more of what I like with my style and got to learn more about myself and be more adventurous in what I try”. Carah adds, “They’ve affected each other because I have been able to understand my personality more and find more confidence so my style has adapted to that”. She goes on to explain that she draws inspiration from TikTok videos to form herself into the person she aspires to be, both in style and personality. 

My final question to both Carah and Alana was,“Do you think you will continue to change more than you have in the past six months?”. They both responded with similar answers. Alana said, “I know I haven’t completely found myself and won’t for a while. I have so much time to continue growing and learn more about myself as I get to experience more and more of my life. Knowing myself I can and will grow even more than I have these past 6 months”.

After interviewing, I realized that my theory was partially correct, but I hadn’t thought about how quarantine gave us time to work on ourselves and increase our confidence. This could be due to a shift in social pressures from our peers at school who we would usually be comparing ourselves to. It also became apparent to me how influential social media, and specifically TikTok, is on our current generation. Though these unprecedented times have been filled with the fear of the unknown, many people have had the time and opportunity for the first time to do some self reflection.

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